Nature Trail ~ Story Telling

To our Mi’kmaq ancestors, storytelling was a way of passing on the accumulated knowledge and wisdom of generations. Today on Lennox Island storytelling has emerged as both a form of entertainment and a way to remember our past.

Bertha Francis was born in 1923 in a wigwam in Northam, PEI, where her parents had camped to collect ash for basket making. She explains the method of cooking that she remembered from her childhood in which a fire would be started on the beach and burned down to hot coals. These coals would be put into a pit that was dug in the sand. The food to be cooked, often bread or potatoes, would be wrapped in paper and buried in the sand. A second fire would be build on top of the sand. The sand would get very hot. After sufficient time, the potatoes or “four cents bread” as it is called, would be cooked. They would be taken from the sand and served with hot pork or salt cod and molasses.

One great occasion for telling stories, exchanging news and generally catching up on things with friends and family has long been the annual St. Anne’s Day celebrations. Since the baptism of Grand Chief Membertou in 1610, St. Anne had been the patron Saint of the Mi’kmaq people and a feast in her honour on the last Sunday of July has been an important celebration for many generations. Lennox Island plays host to a great gathering and festival on St. Anne’s Sunday. Since the early 1900s, it has been the most important social and religious event of the year.

One of the most dramatic moments in St. Anne’s Sundays of the past was the procession of canoes and dories across the channel toward Lennox Island. Everyone in the boats sang Mi’kmaq hymns. The mass was often held outdoors to accommodate the multitude of worshippers and the altar was decorated with flowers. St. Anne’s Sunday was and continues to be a grand occasion. All are welcome to participate in the event.